As online shopping continues to rise in importance, one retailer that was lagging behind is Toys R Us. The huge toy and baby retailer just filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Like many big box retailers, Toys R Us is struggling to compete with online shopping and CEO David Brandon says he hope that Chapter 11 would enable the company to address the financial constraints that “have held us back” in a “lasting and effective way.”
In order to compete with online retailers like Amazon, Toys R Us has committed to a $100 million investment in ecommerce, and the company has completed a massive website overhaul as one step in the process.
From USA Today: “‘The website really represents the front door of our brand,’ said Lance Wills, Toys R Us’ first global chief technology officer who noted that more than 60% of the company’s customers visit its website before deciding to go to an actual store.”
The consumer journey to purchase has rapidly evolved in recent years, and the Toys R Us team is wise to address this shift with updates to things like the navigation menu and transaction process. While these are important changes, we are primarily interested in the content on Toys R Us and what brands can do to maximize their opportunities.
How Did Toys R Us Treat Their Content?
Overall, the placement of content on the new Toys R Us product pages has gotten slightly better. The product description paragraph has been pulled higher on the page, moving to immediately follow the images. Previously, the product content appeared after a “Customers Also Liked” widget, which encouraged browsing but not necessarily buying.
That said, many of the content changes are eyebrow-raising, and not in a good way. The biggest miss is the low prioritization of bullets. Bulleted information is hidden under a “Read More” tab, with little indication what a consumer might find by clicking.
In another questionable move, the enhanced product information provided via Webcollage syndication is also entirely hidden under a “Read More” tab. The title to this section is “From the Manufacturer,” and it provides a small synopsis of what a consumer could see if they click. A better move would have been to “tease” the content with a little bit of it showing and a then use a “Read More” button.
On the positive side, the retailer kept their unique HTML-style enhanced content. The hard-coded content integrates seamlessly into the site, and it adds a fantastic opportunity for brands to get some extra information and visuals onto the page. This enhanced content is not hidden under “Read More” tabs. Click here to see a page with this content (find it under enhanced description).
How Does the Site Compare to Amazon?
When it all boils down, the Toys R Us website has made some improvements, but it does not stack up against Amazon.
The lack of quick-scan bullets bucks a trend in major online retailers. Bullets have long been a top-of-the-page staple on Amazon.com, and in a semi-recent change to their website, Walmart.com pulled bullets up above the fold as well.
On Amazon, fast facts about the product are immediately available:
On the Babies R Us site, a consumer can scroll to read a paragraph of information, but there’s not as much to scan:
Creating the Best Toys R Us Content
If Toys R Us is one of your channels, you are probably wondering what you can do to optimize content on your Toys R Us product pages. Here are a few tips for maximizing your Toys R Us content opportunities.
Pay Attention to Your Titles
Unlike the old website, the new site automatically truncates titles that exceed the character restrictions.
Make sure your titles are succinct enough to fit the character restrictions. You don’t want to be the brand trying to sell the “Black, White, and Gray Striped Girl’s, Metallic Pu…”
Take Advantage of Your Enhanced Content Options
There are two ways to add enhanced content to the TRU/BRU site: through Webcollage syndication and via a site-unique HTML format. Consider your product and the content available before deciding which route to take. Depending on the priority of your product, it may be wise to do both.
HTML Enhanced Content
The HTML format is limited in the types of content it can accept. The format allows images, an introductory paragraph, bullets, feature paragraphs, and documents (such as a user manual) in a very specific layout. However, this content is not hidden under a “Read More” tab like the Webcollage content, and it is hard-coded on the site to increase search relevance. Video can be submitted and loaded separately.
Note that if you had HTML enhanced content loaded previously, you will want to check to see if it made the transition. From our analysis, it appears that some of the content came across, and some did not.
Webcollage Enhanced Content
While it is hidden under a “Read More” tab and not hard-coded onto the site, the Webcollage route offers more content options, including product 360 tours, comparison charts, banners, and more flexible layout options.
Double Up On Your Bullets
Some brands have made a smart move to include bullets immediately following the product description, and we would recommend this. See an example below. These same bullets appear in the bullet section under the “Good to Know” tab, but who’s going to see them?
Always Prioritize Good Content
Despite some of the limitations we see with Toys R Us content options, there is plenty of opportunity for exceptional content. Fill the sections available with informative content that removes barriers to purchase to help make the sale.